Tamil Nadu History Book

LESSON 16 DELHI SULTANATE (Revision or Short Notes)


(Revision or Short Notes)
(Tamil Nadu 11th Class Book)


Five different dynasties – the Slave, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyids and Lodis – ruled under the Delhi Sultanate
Slave Dynasty

• The Slave dynasty was also called Mamluk dynasty. Mamluk was the Quranic term for slave. The Slave dynasty ruled Delhi from A.D. 1206 to 1290. In fact, three dynasties were established during this period. They were
• 1.Qutbi dynasty (1206-1211) founded by Qutbuddin Aibak
• 2.First Ilbari dynasty (1211- 1266) founded by Iltutmish
• 3-Second Ilbari dynasty (1266-1290) founded by Balban

Qutbuddin Aibak (1206-1210)

• Qutbuddin Aibak was a slave of Muhammad Ghori, who made him the Governor of his Indian possessions. He set up his military headquarters at Indraprasta, near Delhi.
• He raised a standing army and established his hold over north India even during the life time of Ghori.
• After the death of Ghori in 1206, Aibak declared his independence. He severed all connections with the kingdom of Ghori and thus founded the Slave dynasty as well as the Delhi Sultanate.
• He assumed the title Sultan and made Lahore his capital.
• Muslim writers call Aibak Lakh Baksh or giver of lakhs because he gave liberal donations to them
• He also started the construction of after the name of a famous Sufi saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakthiyar. It was later completed by Iltutmish. Aibak died suddenly while playing chaugan (horse polo) in 1210.

Iltutmish (1211-1236)

• Iltutmish belonged to the Ilbari tribe and hence his dynasty was named as Ilbari dynasty.
• He shifted his capital from Lahore to Delhi.
• the meantime, Temujin popularly known as Chengiz Khan, the leader of the Mongols,started invading Central Asia. He defeated Jalaluddin Mangabarni, the ruler of Kwarizam.Mangabarni crossed the river Indus and sought asylum from Iltutmish.
• Iltutmish refused to give him shelter in order to save his empire from the onslaught of the Mongols. Fortunately for Iltutmish, Chengiz Khan retuned home without entering into India.
• In fact, the Mongol policy of Iltutmish saved India from the wrath of Chengiz Khan.
• Iltutmish was a great statesman. He received the mansur, the letter of recognition, from the Abbasid Caliph in 1229 by which he became the legal sovereign ruler of India. Later he nominated his daughter Raziya as his successor.
Raziya (1236-1240)
• She appointed an Abyssinian slave Yakuth as Master of the Royal Horses. Also, Raziya discarded the female apparel and held the court with her face unveiled. She even went for hunting and led the In 1240,

Era of Balban (1246-1287)

• Ghiyasuddin Balban, who was also known as Ulugh Khan,served as Naib or regent to Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. He also strengthened his position by marrying his daughter to the Sultan.
• Balban was all powerful in the administration but he had to face the intrigues of his rivals in the royal court
• He knew that the real threat to the monarchy was from the nobles called the Forty. He was convinced that only by enhancing the power and authority of the monarchy he could face the problems.
• According to Balban the Sultan was God’s shadow on earth and the recipient of divine grace. Balban introduced rigorous court discipline and new customs such as prostration and kissing the Sultan’s feet to prove his superiority over the nobles.
• He also introduced the Persian festival of Nauroz to impress the nobles and people with his wealth and power. He stood forth as the champion of Turkish nobility.
• Indian Muslims were not given important post in the government. He appointed spies to monitor the activities of the nobles.
• Balban was determined to break the power of the Forty, the Turkish nobles. He spared only the most obedient nobles and eliminated all others by fair or foul means. Malik Baqbaq, the governor of Badaun, was publicly flogged for his cruelty towards his servants.
• He established a separate military department – diwan-i-arz – and reorganized the army.
• main architects of the Delhi Sultanate. He enhanced the power of the monarchy. However, he could not fully safeguard India from the Mongol invasions


The Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320)

• Khalji dynasty marked the zenith of Muslim imperialism in India. The founder of the Khalji dynasty was Jalaluddin Khalji

Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316)

• He framed regulations to control the nobles. He was convinced that the general prosperity of the nobles, inter marriages between noble families, inefficient spy-system and drinking liquor were the basic reasons for the rebellions.
• Therefore, he passed four ordinances. He confiscated the properties of the nobles. The intelligence system was reorganized and all the secret activities of the nobles were immediately reported to the Sultan.
• The public sale of liquor and drugs was totally stopped. Social gatherings and festivities without the permission of Sultan were forbidden. By such harsh measures his reign was free from rebellions.

Reforms of Alauddin Khalji

• maintained a large permanent standing army and paid them in cash from the royal treasury
• He introduced the system of dagh (branding of horses) and prepared huliya (descriptive list of soldiers). In order to ensure maximum efficiency, a strict review of army from time to time was carried out.
• The introduction of paying salaries in cash to the soldiers led to price regulations popularly called as Market Reforms.
• Each market was under the control of a high officer called Shahna-i-Mandi.
• Regulations were issued to fix the price of all commodities. A separate department called Diwani Riyasat was created under an officer called Naib-i-Riyasat.
• Every merchant was registered under the Market department. There were secret agents called munhiyans who sent reports to the Sultan regarding the functioning of these markets.
• Violation of regulations was severely punished. Harsh punishment was given if any shopkeeper charged a higher
• Even during the famine the same price was maintained
• Alauddin Khalji took important steps in the land revenue administration. He was the first Sultan of Delhi who ordered for the measurement of land. Even the big landlords could not escape from paying land tax.
• Land revenue was collected in cash in order to enable the Sultan to pay the soldiers in cash. His land revenue reforms provided a basis for the future reforms of Sher Shah and Akbar

Military Campaigns

• Alauddin Khalji sent his army six times against the Mongols
• Mongol invasions were also dealt with severely
• He sent Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan to capture Gujarat in 1299.
• Kafur, an eunuch, was also taken to Delhi and later he was made the Malik Naib – military commander. Then in 1301,Alauddin marched against Ranthampur and after a three month’s siege it fell. The Rajput women committed jauhar or self-immolation.
• In 1303 Alauddin stormed the Chittor fort. Raja Ratan Singh and his soldiers fought valiantly but submitted.
• The Rajput women including Rani Padmini performed jauhar. This Padmini episode was graphically mentioned in the book Padmavath written by Jayasi.
• Alauddin Khalji’s greatest achievement was the conquest of Deccan and the far south. This region was ruled by four important dynasties – Yadavas of Devagiri, Kakatiyas of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra and the Pandyas of Madurai.
• In Alauddin sent Malik Kafur against the ruler of Devagiri, Ramachandra Deva, who submitted and paid rich tributes. In 1309 Malik Kafur launched his campaign against Warangal.
• Malik Kafur’s next target was the Hoysala ruler Vira Ballala III. He was defeated and a vast quantity of booty was seized and sent to Delhi. Kafur next marched against the Pandyas.
• Alauddin Khalji died in 1316. Although the Sultan was illiterate,he patronized poets like Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan. He also built a famous gateway known as Alai Darwaza and constructed a new capital at Siri.
The Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414)
• The founder of the Tughlaq dynasty was Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq sent his son Juna Khan to fight against Warangal
• Ghiyasuddin laid the foundation for Tughlaqabad near Delhi. Ulugh Khan was said to have treacherously killed his father

Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-1351)

• his ambitious schemes and novel experiments
• ended in miserable failures
• because they were all far ahead of their time. He was very tolerant in religious matters.
• He maintained diplomatic relations with far off countries like Egypt, China and Iran.
• Contemporary writers like Isami, Barani and Ibn Battutah were unable to give a correct picture about his personality.
• But, Muhammad bin Tughlaq was the only Delhi Sultan who had received a comprehensive literary,religious and philosophical education.

Transfer of Capital

• Muhammad bin Tughlaq wanted to make Devagiri his second capital so that he might be able to control South India better.
• In 1327 he made extensive preparations for the transfer of royal household and the ulemas and Sufis from Delhi to Devagiri, which was renamed as Daulatabad
• distance between these two places was more than 1500 kilometres. Many people died during the rigorous journey in the summer.
• After two years, the Sultan abandoned Daulatabad and asked them to return to Delhi

Token Currency

• In 1329-30 Muhammad bin Tughlaq introduced a token currency.There was a shortage of silver through out the world in the fourteenth century.
• Kublai Khan issued paper money in China. In the same manner, Muhammad bin Tughlaq issued copper coins at par with the value of the silver tanka coins. But he was not able to prevent forging the new coins.
• Soon the new coins were not accepted in the markets.
• Muhammad bin Tughlaqpromised to exchange silver coins for the copper coins.
• coins but the treasury became empty. According the Barani, the heap of copper coins remained lying on roadside in Tughlaqabad

Taxation in Doab

• Muhammad bin Tughlaq increased the land revenue on the farmers of Doab (land between Ganges and Yamuna rivers).
• severe famine was also ravaging that region at that time
• They fled from the villages but Muhammad bin Tughlaq took harsh measures to capture and punish
Agricultural Reforms
• Sultan realized later that adequate relief measures and the promotion of agriculture were the real solution to the problem. He launched a scheme by which takkavi loans (loans for cultivation) were given to the farmers to buy seed and to extend
• A separate department for agriculture, Diwan- i- Kohi was established
• This experiment was further continued by Firoz Tughlaq
• The governors of Oudh, Multan and Sind revolted against the authority of Muhammad bin Tughlaq
• Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s health became worse and he died in 1351.
• According to Baduani, the Sultan was freed from his people and the people from the Sultan. According to Barani, Muhammad bin Tughlaq was a mixture of opposites.
• His reign marked the beginning of the process of its decline

Firoz Tughlaq (1351-1388)

• He appointed Khan-i-Jahan Maqbal, a Telugu Brahmin convert as wazir (prime minister).

Military Campaigns

• He tried to safeguard his authority over north India instead of reasserting his authority over the Deccan and south India.
• Bengal became free from the control of Delhi Sultanate.
• During this campaign the Sultan collected 1300 Sanskrit manuscripts from the Jawalamukhi temple library and got them translated into Persian.

Administrative Reforms

• He strictly followed the advice of the ulemas in running the administration. He pleased the nobles and assured hereditary succession to their properties.
• Thus the iqta system was not only revived but also it was made hereditary. As per the Islamic law he levied the taxes. Jiziya was strictly imposed on non-Muslims.
• He was the first Sultan to impose irrigation tax
• He also developed royal factories called karkhanas in which thousands of slaves were employed.
• famous among them was Firozabad near Red Fort in Delhi, now called Firoz Shah Kotla. Old monuments like Jama Masjid and Qutb-Minar were also repaired.
• A new department called Diwan-i-Khairat was created to take care of orphans and widows
• Firoz patronized scholars like Barani and Afif. As he was guided by the ulemas, he was intolerant towards Shia Muslims and Sufis.
• He treated Hindus as second grade citizens and imposed Jiziya. In this respect he was the precursor of Sikandar Lodi and Aurangazeb. Also he increased the number of slaves

Sayyids (1414-1451)

• Before his departure from India, Timur appointed Khizr Khan as governor of Multan. He captured Delhi and founded the Sayyid dynasty in 1414.
• 1421 and was succeeded by his son, Mubarak Shah

Lodis (1451-1526)

• Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517) was the greatest of the three Lodi sovereigns. He brought the whole of Bihar under his control
• He destroyed many Hindu temples and imposed many restrictions on the Hindus
• Daulat Khan Lodi invited Babur to invade India. Babur marched against Delhi and defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the first battle of Panipat (1526). The Afghan kingdom lasted for only seventy-five years.